Clark's death sudden
The town of Culver was saddened by the sudden death of city councilor and active community volunteer Stella "Sam" Clark from heart failure while driving on Christmas day, Dec. 25.
According to Culver public works director E.V. Smith, Clark had left her mother's house after visiting on Christmas and was driving the two blocks back to her own house when she apparently had a massive heart attack. Clark's car sideswiped a parked pickup, traveled 600 feet, and then stopped. No one else was hurt in the accident, but Clark died at the scene, Smith said.
Culver Police Chief Kecia Powell said the accident did not cause Clark's death. "The conclusion we've come to was she had a heart attack while driving," Powell said.
Smith, who had known Clark for years, said, "Sam was a pleasure to work with and was dedicated to what she did. And she was fun to be around. If you needed help, she was the one you could talk to; she had a caring heart."
Clark, 70, had served eight years on Culver City Council, from her appointment in March 1999 until the present and was willing to take on extra work in her position.
"I had just asked her to be the transportation commissioner for the work being done in town, which is quite an undertaking, and she accepted it," said Culver Mayor Dan Harnden, noting Clark helped get enhancement grant funds for the project.
She also had served on the Culver road commission and Culver police commission, where she helped put a reserve officer program together, as well as volunteering in the community.
Her term was set to expire in 2009, and Harnden said the council would eventually appoint a replacement, noting, "We're going to give it some time."
"She's going to be greatly missed. She was a good part of what held the council together, and she was a team player. It was a shock to have her leave that suddenly and it will be hard to fill her shoes," Harnden said. (See related obituary on page 15).